On to the discussion :-)
Two big surprises in this chapter! So definitely read the book first before you read this post, okay? I don't want to spoil them.
|(Yes, in the book, he doesn't get stabbed in the face. But it's such a cool image!)|
The battle! Lots of battle! And surprise #1: Dernhelm = Eowyn. Eowyn being "faithful beyond fear" (p. 822). She kills the fell beast, she smites the Black Captain -- three cheers for Eowyn! In the movies, it's kind of implied that the only reason she can take the Ringwraith down is because she's a woman. It's kind of dumb in the movie, to be honest, because in the book, she obviously has serious sword skills, if she can slice off the fell beast's head with one blow: "A swift stroke she dealt, skilled and deadly" (p. 823). It may be that her gender somehow thwarted the Nazgul's enchantment or whatever, since he said "No living man may hinder me" (p. 823), but her own skill played an equally important part, I'd say.
And three cheers for Merry too! Once "the slow-kindled courage of his race awoke" (p. 823), he jumps right into a fearsome fray and attacks a Ringwraith! Way to go, Merry! It's his stabbing the Witch-King with that Westernesse sword he got from the Barrow-wight waaaaaaaaaaaaay back at the beginning of FOTR that makes the Ringwraith killable. So the prophesy was right: no man killed the Witch-King of Angmar, but rather a hobbit and a woman working together.
Poor Eomer, though, losing his uncle and thinking he's lost his sister. Let's give three cheers for Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth! He's the one that figures out Eowyn's not dead. Good job, Prince Imrahil the fair!
Surprise #2, of course, is that it's Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and their pals aboard those ships, not more enemies. They're what turn the tide of battle. Love it.
But the white fury of the Northman burned the hotter, and more skilled was their knighthood with long spears and bitter (p. 821).
"A grim morn, and a glad day, and a golden sunset!" (p. 824).
"A great rain came out of the Sea, and it seemed that all things wept for Theoden and Eowyn, quenching the fires in the City with grey tears (p. 827).
"...and the mirth of the Rohirrim was a torrent of laughter and a flashing of swords..." (p. 829).
Did you suspect that Dernhelm was really Eowyn? (The first time you read or watched ROTK, I mean.)